Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, home DVDs… Every day our lives are filled with a multitude of social and digital platforms, all of which seem to be selling us one thing; the glorious life of the gym fanatic. With 61% of adults working out for more than 150 minutes a week, it’s clear to see that fitness is currently captivating the hearts of the public, so we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common fitness mistakes made by gym goers in order to help you get the most from your fitness regime.
Exercise is the most important part of body sculpting
When it comes to trying to obtain the coveted beach body, more often than not people jump in head first and start slaving away at the gym, spending hours and hours trying to tone their abs, shape their legs and bulk out their arms. However, when it comes down to it, no matter how hard they push themselves, people often find themselves running short of their end goals. Maybe their legs aren’t completely as toned as they’d like, or maybe their glutes aren’t as rounded as they were hoping for, either way, people respond by getting down and thinking that their exercises aren’t working. However, this is most definitely not the case.
While there is no question that exercise is an integral part of body sculpting, people often place so much concentration on the physical side of fitness that they forget the most vital component of all; diet. Having a healthy and balanced diet is the key to achieving all fitness and muscle training goals, and it’s only when this is mastered that you will truly start to see your results kicking in. If you’re falling short of your gym goals, try taking a look and tweaking your diet; it may surprise you how much effect a simple change in the menu can have.
Repetition and routine is key
When it comes to fitness we are often told that routines are everything. Simply by flicking through Facebook and watching YouTube videos, we are bombarded with an array of fitness videos and routines which we are encouraged to embed into our daily lives. So we add some push ups here, some planks there, and before we know it we’re falling into a regular routine that we incorporate into our every gym session. At first, we’re out of breath after each and every set, but slowly, after a while, we’re finding it easier and easier to get through those reps. As we get used to certain routines and habits, our bodies adapt and learn to combat the initial struggles we faced, meaning that at a certain point we stop making progress and simply plateau. As a result, our fitness levels are no longer improving and we become essentially stuck in a fitness rut.
In order to keep our body constantly progressing and moving forward, it’s crucial to mix up the routines and keep our bodies on their toes. By ensuring that you’re not falling into a comfortable and monotonous routine, and instead of shaking up your sessions with new and challenging reps, you’ll find that your fitness levels will start to increase and improve in ways you could only imagine.
High-intensity training is everything
‘Go hard or go home’; that phrase is bandied round in gyms so frequently that it’s become a type of mantra within the fitness world. So many people hit the gym with the attitude that they need to completely be on their knees with exhaustion on leaving or they haven’t had a ‘proper’ workout. This means that every time people go to the gym they’re performing high-intensity training levels that are leaving their bodies feeling exhausted and broken, and this is most definitely not a healthy way to build fitness levels.
Rather than improving and strengthening your body, if you’re constantly pushing yourself too hard, your body will not be able to keep up and will eventually falter. Our bodies have limits and it’s important to understand this when training. Take it easy and mix up the high-intensity training with more peaceful and calming activities, such as yoga. Not only will this prevent you from potentially hurting yourself, but it will actually improve your overall strength and fitness levels as your body is allowed to flourish and improve in a natural way.
Reduce your calorie intake
Eat fewer calories. Lose weight. This simple fitness equation has been around for decades and has since become a general rule of thumb for everyone who wants to lose weight. However, when it comes to weight loss, things aren’t as simple as they may first appear. Although calorie intake is indeed a crucial part of reaching your fitness goals, the actual relationship between food and fitness is worlds apart from people’s common misconceptions.
On your quest to lose weight and get the ever elusive summer body, despite popular belief, it’s actually incredibly important to increase your calorie intake and overall food consumption. While you’re working out frequently, your body needs to be supplied with a constant source of energy so it can thrive and meet your fitness goals. If you’re reducing a number of calories your body intakes, you’re essentially cutting off your body’s energy supply, and as a result, your body will be unable to perform to its full potential. In order to make sure that your body is functioning and thriving throughout your training sessions, you need to make sure that your body is supplied with fuel and energy to keep it going. Rather than starve your body and feel yourself struggle through your workouts, ensure that you are are eating full and hearty meals that will allow you to attack your workouts with renewed energy and vigour each time you hit the gym.
If you’re training hard, you can eat what you want
While it’s definitely true that it’s incredibly important to keep your body fueled and energised with plenty of food, it’s still very important to retain a healthy and balanced diet throughout your training. Some people believe that simply because they are exercising regularly, they can eat what they want as the calories and fat will simply burn off. However, as much as we may wish this to be true when faced with a hoard of chocolate cakes and sugary treats, unfortunately, our bodies simply don’t work like that.
In order to get results from your workouts, you need to be consuming a nutritious and healthy diet that caters to all the food groups; supplying your body with all the vitamins, minerals and goodies it needs to survive and thrive. Keep your body strong and healthy by having a balanced diet that includes those all important vegetables and fruits as well as carbs, proteins and of course a good old bit of chocolate.
Cardio is king
Early morning runs, treadmill sessions, elliptical workouts…cardio is the focus for many people when it comes to fitness. Often filling the floor of the gym, countless people can be seen working up a sweat on the cardio machines, giving it their all in a bid to increase their fitness levels. However while cardio is a great way to increase your fitness capabilities, it’s by no means the only way to tackle workouts. By adding weight based training to your cardio routine you can work on massively increasing your muscle mass and overall body strength. Lifting weights can also help to add some definition to your figure which can greatly help in that ‘beach bod’ bid. By combining both methods of training you will be able to see a massive difference in your fitness levels, as well as an overall improvement in your body’s aesthetics.
Losing weight is progress
When working out, there’s an assumption that if you’re training and going to the gym every week that you will progressively start to lose weight. It can, therefore, be incredibly disheartening at times to be standing on the scales in your bathroom, looking down and finding that you’re not making any progress at all, or even at times actually putting on weight. When this happens it’s easy to let the panic set in. What am I doing wrong? My workouts are failing. I need to train more. These are just some of the many thoughts that can go whizzing around your head in this instance.
But rest assured that just because you’re not actively losing weight, doesn’t mean that you aren’t making incredible progress. A big part of fitness revolves around strengthening your body and building up your muscle. As you workout, your muscles will be responding and getting firmer and stronger in response to your exercises. This means that in turn, they will be getting much heavier, and as a result creating the illusion that you are ‘putting on’ weight. Muscle mass can be incredibly heavy, and as such can cause much confusion when people don’t see themselves ‘losing’ the weight they wanted to. However in reality, while the fat is being burnt off, it’s in turn being replaced with stronger but much heavier muscle, meaning that scales and weight measuring techniques become an unreliable way to measure fitness progress. It’s important to not place too much emphasis on the number you see on your scales, and instead, assess how you look and feel in yourself. True progress is not found in a figure on a scale, but rather in your own attitude and sense of self-worth.
Fitness models are goals
While it’s true that we have social media to thank for the trending interest in fitness, there is still one massive detriment to having such a strong digital presence, and that’s ironically our role models themselves. With glossy, filtered photos filling our news feeds, we are unable to escape the constant wave of fitness models flaunting their perfectly toned and sculpted bodies.
While it’s great to follow them and lead a healthy lifestyle by their example, it’s still key to remember that the photos we are seeing are not an accurate representation of real life. What’s important to remember is that these photos that are being posted, impressive as they are, will have been tweaked, altered and adapted to create that ‘perfect’ look. Fitness models do not look as seemingly flawless as they look in their online post; they bloat, they get cellulite, and they too have parts of their bodies that they’re not happy with. No one is perfect and every person’s body is different and unique to them. Although it’s great to have role models, never aspire to physically be someone else. Instead learn to love your body for what it is, because that’s what the fitness journey is all about really; learning to love yourself for who you are.
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